Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls : a retrospective cohort study

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Azbel , M , Heinänen , M , Lääperi , M & Kuisma , M 2021 , ' Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls : a retrospective cohort study ' , BMC Emergency Medicine , vol. 21 , no. 1 , 102 . https://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-021-00495-3

Title: Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trauma-related emergency medical service calls : a retrospective cohort study
Author: Azbel, Michael; Heinänen, Mikko; Lääperi, Mitja; Kuisma, Markku
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, HUS Emergency Medicine and Services
University of Helsinki, HUS Musculoskeletal and Plastic Surgery
University of Helsinki, HUS Emergency Medicine and Services
University of Helsinki, HUS Emergency Medicine and Services



Date: 2021-09-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 10
Belongs to series: BMC Emergency Medicine
ISSN: 1471-227X
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12873-021-00495-3
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/335437
Abstract: Background The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the utilization of health care services, including Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Social distancing measures taken to prevent the spread of the disease have greatly affected the functioning of societies and reduced or halted many activities with a risk of injury. The aim of this study was to report the effects of lockdown measures on trauma-related EMS calls in the Finnish capital area. Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all EMS calls in the Helsinki University Hospital (HUH) catchment area between 1 January and 31 July 2020. Calls were identified from the HUH EMS database. Calls were grouped into pre-lockdown, lockdown, and post-lockdown periods according to the restrictions set by the Finnish government and compared to the mean number of calls for the corresponding periods in 2018 and 2019. Statistical comparisons were performed using Mann-Whitney U-test for weekly numbers and percentages. Results During the study period there was a total of 70,705 EMS calls, of which 14,998 (21.2%) were related to trauma; 67,973 patients (median age 61.6 years; IQR 35.3-78.6) were met by EMS. There was no significant change in the weekly number of total or trauma-related EMS calls during the pre-lockdown period. During the lockdown period, the number of weekly total EMS calls was reduced by 12.2% (p = 0.001) and the number of trauma-related calls was reduced by 23.3% (p = 0.004). The weekly number of injured patients met by EMS while intoxicated with alcohol was reduced by 41.8% (p = 0.002). During the post-lockdown period, the number of total and trauma-related calls and the number of injured patients intoxicated by alcohol returned to previous years' levels. Conclusions The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures reduced the number of trauma-related EMS calls. Lockdown measures had an especially significant effect on the number of injured patients intoxicated by alcohol met by the EMS.
Subject: Emergency medical service
Prehospital trauma
COVID-19
Alcohol
IMPACT
INJURY
VISITS
3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
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